'Let's resolve this now': Houston firefighters' union issues proposal to mayor

HOUSTON – Leaders from the union representing Houston’s firefighters publicly put forth a proposal to the city in the wake of Proposition B being ruled unconstitutional.

Prop B was a voter-approved measure that required that the city’s firefighters be paid the same as their police department counterparts.

A judge ruled last week that the ordinance was unconstitutional, saying it violated two provisions of state law.

The Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association filed an appeal within hours of the judge’s ruling.

HPFFA president Marty Lancton commented on Mayor Sylvester Turner's remarks during the latter's State of the City address Monday.

"My door is open," the mayor said Monday, regarding negotiating a pay raise. "I am prepared to sit down and talk. We don't have to litigate things all the time."

Lancton said Tuesday the union proposes that the mayor commit to binding arbitration to end the impasse.

"We urge the mayor to drop his legal attack on collective bargaining, a move that has alarmed all public employees across Texas," Lancton said. "The move is his. We are providing the mayor another way."

Lancton claimed a resolution could be reached "in approximately 40 days" through binding arbitration.

A spokesperson for Turner's office sent KPRC2 the following statement Tuesday:

"The city of Houston is moving forward. Mayor Turner’s door is open and he is ready and willing to meet with the fire union. The mayor believes firefighters deserve a raise the city can afford.
Last week, a judge ruled Prop B was unconstitutional. The City is moving forward to pass a balanced budget with no demotions, no layoffs and the 66 fire cadets were sworn. Hundreds of Houston firefighters received $17 million above their normal pay as a result of Prop B, and that will have to be addressed in the near future."